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9 February 2023

The Deakin University response to ChatGPT

How will ChatGPT and other generative AI affect how we teach at Deakin? This rapidly evolving technology is already having an impact across higher education and is sure to present the University with some exciting and interesting opportunities and challenges in 2023. ChatGPT and other generative AI tools have the potential to change how we design learning experiences and assessment tasks at Deakin, including how we provide personalised feedback to students.

Generative AI is more than ChatGPT

Generative AI has been making headlines around the world, with ChatGPT now a household name. ChatGPT is just one of many other AI models, such as DALL.E2Explainpaper, and can be used to create a variety of content – like highly-readable text, detailed images or code – at a click of a button. ChatGPT might be the flavour of the month, but it won’t be the last generative AI tool you hear about.

This new technology is sure to have an effect not only on the education sector, but also on how we all live our day-to-day lives. As with any new technology, generative AI presents a range of opportunities and challenges.

The challenges of generative AI

Generative AI has the potential to revolutionise the way we live, learn, and work in the future. However, AI models are still in their early stages of development and come with a variety of challenges that must be addressed in the realm of higher education:

  • Accessibility: While many of the tools are currently free, this may not always be the case – many are already moving to a subscription-based service. Developers are collecting data on how users are utilising the tools to improve and develop them further. However, when these tools are monetised, it can create barriers for those who are unable to afford them and reinforce existing social and equity divisions.
  • Privacy: Like many digital tools, ChatGPT and similar models collect and store data about students, staff and searches which may be used for marketing, surveillance and research purposes.
  • Validity: The algorithms of these tools can be opaque and may generate false or biased material.
  • Academic integrity: If not used appropriately, these tools may present opportunities for students to cheat on assessment tasks.
  • Currency: The knowledge base underlying ChatGPT is currently limited to pre-2021, meaning recent developments may not be reflected in its output.

Integrating AI into the curriculum

Deakin University’s focus is supporting staff and students to adapt to and embrace this new technology. We are planning to increase knowledge and capability in using it responsibly within learning and teaching environments to ensure students are supported and prepared to graduate as digitally fluent citizens and employees.

As AI becomes increasingly prevalent, students will be expected to use these tools in their future careers across all disciplines, professions and industries. To prepare for this, it is important to incorporate the building of skills and knowledge about AI into our curriculum.

Both staff and students can assist in training these tools through providing feedback on generated text, allowing the tools to become increasingly sophisticated over time.

In terms of teaching and learning, AI tools can be used to personalise and enhance higher-order thinking and learning activities. It can also be used for assessment design by creating authentic and complex tasks that cannot be completed using AI. Learning outcomes, unit outlines and assessment rubrics can all be easily produced, with feedback provided to students in a fraction of the time it would take without the technology.

It can enhance productivity by allowing students and staff to complete tasks more efficiently and providing learning support through easy access to targeted and personalised information. Crucially, it can enhance critical thinking skills development by supporting students with inquiry and encouraging them to use evaluative judgement in assessing outputs.

The future of learning design

What questions should the higher education community be asking we navigate these leaps in technology? Here are some questions Deakin will be keeping in mind this year:

  • Are our learning activities and assessment tasks fit for purpose or could they be taught or answered by a bot?
  • How can we utilise this new technology to create a more engaging and meaningful experience for students?
  • How can Deakin leverage the affordances of this technology to continue being leaders in the digital education sphere?
  • How can this technology enable us to use our time more efficiently and free us up to spend more time exploring and engaging with students in learning activities?

Deakin talks Generative AI with ABC Radio

You can listen to the ABC Radio segment where Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Liz Johnson and Associate Professor Trish McCluskey, Director of Digital Learning joined Ali Moore to discuss how to maintain honesty and integrity in academia.

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